January 26, 2021
By John Lavenburg
A Vatican investigation has exonerated retired Bishop Joseph Hart of Cheyenne, Wyoming, on seven accusations of sexual abuse towards minors, while five other accusations “could not be proven with moral certitude,” the diocese announced in a statement Monday.
The decree came from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) – the Vatican office responsible for processing clergy sex abuse complaints.
However, the CDF issued a canonical rebuke to Hart for “his flagrant lack of prudence as a priest and bishop for being alone with minors in his private residence and on various trips, which could have been potential occasions endangering the ‘obligation to observe continence’ and that would ‘give rise to scandal among the faithful,’” according to the diocese statement.
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